Some of you might probably have the same issue as I have right now. I have health anxiety where I generally have two distinctive fears. It is the idea of having cancer and dying with it. The struggle is real and overthinking about that particular situation leads me to multiple other mental health issues. These include having panic attacks, sleep disorders, eating disorders, as well as anxiety itself.
How It All Begin
“Anxiety is a broad categories of symptoms, while panic attacks are a specific way in which anxiety can express or manifest itself.” – Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC
I know my health anxiety starts with my subconscious that somehow accompany and manifest panic attacks. For me, when I experience a sudden mood shift from being excited to completely scared over things I’m not sure about, I know there’s a presence of anxiety. From there, I investigate and work myself up over because I thought of dying with cancer. The idea of not always finding solutions to everything scares the hell out of me. Every time I feel pain or something that is usually not normal in my body, I always assume that I might be having cancer. I often go to Google and search probable symptoms of this and that. And the worse things about having too much health concerns is it makes me feel paranoid about what I physically and mentally experience. I understand what Robert Allison, MA, LPC used to say that “Anxiety is often thought of as an emotion, but it’s really more than that, especially when it gets to be problematic.”And I genuinely can’t help it.
Unfortunately, searching for answers and looking at the symptoms online leads me to have panic attacks and eventually develops an unrealistic list of phobias. There is the idea of having brain cancer every time I get headaches. There is colon cancer because I always feel the pain in my lower stomach for more than a month. There is skin cancer because I quickly get this red and itchy lump on my skin whenever I exposed myself on too much sunlight. I even thought about those small lumps as tumors growing inside my skin. I also convinced myself that I am having lung cancer because most of the times I can’t breathe properly. All of these anxieties of having cancer are taking my actions up to the next level. I get to do weird stuff only to feel better. I even try and change my lifestyle for the sake of not experiencing any cancer symptoms. I somehow become obsessed with avoiding things that can cause cancer-related diseases.
I thought of having all types of cancer that’s why I always go and see a doctor every time I see, feel, and experience new things on my physical attributes. I check bumps and lumps on every corner of my body. What’s even funnier is that having pimples also scares the hell out of me. There’s a buildup on anxiety on these kinds of scenarios. I am thinking of having internal inflammation because those red dots won’t come off and seem to last for a couple of days. There’s mental torture going on every time that happens.
Turn Of Events
Karin Draper, LMFT once said, “In the lives of those experiencing anxiety, anxiety has almost always served a purpose as a survival function at some point. ” But everything about this health anxiety is a freaking nightmare. I now have depression which I know can create quite a mess in my life. The fear I have gives me emotional and mental torture, and that is the reason why I often try asking for professional health advice. Guess what, it turns out that I don’t have any health issues that can escalate to having cancer or anything related to that. I am happy about it, but that’s because I start to believe that I survive cancer.
Though I pretty much convince myself about not having any types of cancer, I am now suffering from mental illness concerns due to health anxiety. I am currently isolating myself from people because I believe that my condition is unacceptable and irrational. I feel embarrassed because I told people that I am entirely having this and that, that I am going to die any time soon, but turns out I don’t and I will not. Due to this instance, I shut down people because I am not happy about not having cancer. I mean, I feel it would be a validation to have one since I already believed in it.
It’s funny how the way I thought about my condition becomes my source of strength and weakness at the same time. Luckily I’m still alive and kicking and now working with my mental health issues without the fear of having cancer.